If you are anything like me, a good cup of Java is necessary before venturing onto the slopes before first chair. As a homegrown local, I have tried my fair share of coffee joints in town. As a result, making a list of best coffee shops in Vail with my fellow employees at American Ski Exchange was a cinch! My co-workers and I have narrowed down the three best coffee spots in Vail. Each has its own perks. These made the list:
Two Arrows Coffee Bar
When you walk into Two Arrows in the morning, conveniently located next to American Ski Exchange, you are greeted by the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. As you glance around, a long coffee bar lined with patrons is sprawled before you and there are modern/ wooden chic tables where you can enjoy your ordered beverage. It is not uncommon to pick up an order next to someone (myself included) in ski boots. There is always a friendly face to serve you coffee, which makes this a favorite local hangout.
I am largely a latte girl, so I would recommend trying the seasonal latte or my personal favorite - the caramel latte. However, they also make a great cappuccino. Either way, I frequent this establishment most days before heading up to the gondola - which is only a staircase and a few steps to Gondola One. It is definitely the coffee shop with the most convenient location. After all, no one wants to miss the opportunity for first tracks (especially when they aren’t a morning person to begin with). After you are fueled with coffee, come next door to American Ski Exchange to shop for unique winter ski clothing or be fitted for ski, snowboard, or snow clothing rentals. Don't forget to grab last minute equipment or gear that you may have forgotten!
Another one of my favorite aspects of Two Arrows is they support other Colorado small businesses. All of the baked goods are provided by Hovey & Harrison. Hovey & Harrison works with small, family-run farms to source the ingredients for their delectable pastries. Make sure to try the monkey bread. It is so delicious, you will not want to share. You may even come back every morning after you discover this hidden gem. Two Arrows also secures their scrumptious bagels from Village Bagel - another small business that is located Down Valley. Two Arrows also doubles as a traditional bar to be enjoyed after the slopes for apres. But don’t worry, they still serve coffee into the early morning.
Voted the “Best of Vail” four years running. One of the coolest things about Yeti’s Grind is that they use Colorado companies to source their coffee and espresso beans. The roasted coffee beans hail from Corvus Coffee Co - a specialty, small-batch coffee roaster in Denver. This way, you know you're getting to taste real, local Colorado coffee. In addition, the espresso beans are from Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters - located in Lakewood, CO. Overall, you know that you are going to get a fresh Colorado coffee beverage.
Since I am a latte girl, Yeti’s Grind’s selection of specialty lattes has something for everyone. They have concocted a variety of lattes with the most peculiar combinations, but they have dynamite flavor. Whether it is a Honey & Lavender latte or the Lonestar latte (dark chocolate, cinnamon, and cayenne), you really can’t go wrong. My personal favorite specialty latte is the Mountain Mint (dark chocolate & peppermint). A girl can never go wrong with that dynamic duo. After all, who doesn't like chocolate and peppermint?
One of the unique aspects of Yeti’s Grind - apart from its warm, rustic ambiance - is that it is located rink-side on the bottom floor of the Solaris. As a result, it is the perfect place to take your kids for a tasty hot chocolate after ice skating at Solaris. It will warm them up for sure! Not to mention, you may leave with an adorable Yeti souvenir. They are so cute, how could any child resist? Yeti’s Grind is also a great spot to grab a coffee before venturing into Cinebistro - the Vail movie theater - that is only a few storefronts over. I do that often.
Recently relocated from its basement haunt to just before the infamous Vail Covered Bridge (in the old Starbucks space), Loaded Joes has been a local favorite for years. In the newly expanded space, there is plenty of room to stop and enjoy coffee either at a table or oversized chair. It is also a great spot for people watching as people walk down Bridge Street towards the mountain in all their gear. Loaded Joes serves gourmet espresso from Seattle-based Rococo Coffee Roasting Company. One of my favorites on the menu is the Spanish coffee (dark chocolate, cinnamon, brewed coffee, and steamed milk). If you are looking for something a little different, one of my friends swears by the Hot Apple Cider.
It is also a late night coffee locale that has a traditional bar. They serve Village Bagel pizza slices - making it a great beginning or end to a night on the town. It is not uncommon to see groups of people hanging out in the expansive space enjoying the views of the Gore Creek and the Covered Bridge.
When you stop into American Ski Exchange before you head up the mountain, don’t forget to tell us your favorite coffee spot! We’ll enjoy seeing you!